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back to article Apple refreshes MacBook Pro range

Apple has stopped working on watches, televisions and all the weird stuff it has patented for just long enough to refresh its MacBook Pro range. Reg readers may remember the MacBook as an example of Apple's “personal computer” range, a product category it pioneered in the late 1970s. The phone and fondleslab company is still …

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£1800 is £1500 before VAT. Right now £1500 is US$2,330.25. The premium for buying in the UK is therefore only about 6%. It's not really worth applauding but these sort of stories usually seem to attract misinformation.

Is it worth getting the machine at all? The extra pixels are actually fantastically useful because if you don't want to run at a pretend 1440x900 you can jack up the desktop resolution to a pretend 1920x1200 and due to the pixel density everything still looks perfectly sharp*. So you can finally fit a desktop worth of stuff onto a laptop screen.

It'd be nice if other manufacturers would follow that sort of lead but I guess we're going to have to wait for Microsoft to ditch the desktop completely (as Boot Camp shows it to scale very poorly but Metro-as-was to scale flawlessly) or for Google to make a Chrome move before we get anything usable.

(*) internally that's implemented as rendering the desktop at 3840x2400 and sampling down so the scaler is throwing away information rather than trying to guess it — always a much better position to be in.

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(Written by Reg staff)

Don't forget US sales tax adds around seven per cent when calculating that comparison price!

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“US sales tax”

Given the patchwork of sales taxes (state/commonwealth/district/territory/reservation, county/parish/borough, and/or municipality) throughout these USA, that additional component of the comparison price can vary between 0% and 11.725% for such objects of bittersweet yearning.

Tenuously connected trivia question: whom is the 17th century Joseph of Cupertino the patron saint of?

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nice pixel density. if only PC OEMs would follow.

I hope Apple hasn't gobbled up the only supplies of higher density screens.

For my work issued Dell 14" lappy - I had to do a right song and dance to be "spec'ed up" to a 'huge' 1600x900 from the generic miserable 1366x768 or whatever, and it still looks pretty poor. Like it's got a really fine mesh over then screen that just seems to make things fuzzy. My comparitively ancient Asus with its 1680x1050 screen still looks pin sharp in comparison, without that much of a difference in resolution.

I was spec'ing up an Alienware to replace my Asus, but if the 1600x900 on the Alienware is the same screen as my Dell work machine, given the amount of money you can spend on this thing, then it'd be a bit of a let down.

moar piksells pleez!

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Anonymous Coward

Is it worth getting the machine at all? The extra pixels are actually fantastically useful

Aye to that. I bought a MacBook mid 2010, and I opted for the higher resolution screen (1680 x 1050) which has been major league helpful. My next one will thus *have* to be Retina, because a *lower* resolution is useless.

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Re: “US sales tax”

Joseph of Cupertino is recognised variously as the patron saint of air travellers, pilots, astronauts, people with a mental handicap, test takers, and poor students.

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Not tempted

Well, I'm still not tempted to "upgrade" my 2009 MacBook Pro. Disk performance post-Leopard is still dismal and while a higher pixel density is always "nice to have" that's all it is.

Probably going to need a replacement this year of next but at the moment it won't be a Mac. With all the inconvenience of moving to a different OS (probably PC-BSD in my case) I'm going to stick with what I've got as long as possible.

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Re: nice pixel density. if only PC OEMs would follow.

@Andy

Gaming laptops don't tend to have very high res screens because of the constraints of the graphics card and battery. That said, there was a Reg column last month advocating gaming laptops (specifically Alienware) as mobile workstations.

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Happy

Re: Not tempted

Disk performance... Perhaps try and modern SSD based MacBook, for a change.

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The number of pixels would be nice but more useful, to me at least, is the 16x10 aspect ratio. The 5 year old Acer I type this on has it (1680x1050 15") and is 2 years past it's scheduled retirement date because I can't get a 16x10 screen again. Apple get it so why doesn't anyone else? 16x9 was invented for, made for and is great for watching DVDs, it sucks for real work. Only 1920x1080 or above has acceptable number of vertical pixels and they are all either too small to read if below 16" or too big to conveniently carry if above.

A 15" MBP with bootcamp would be a lovely replacement but £1799 is a smidge over double the price of this Acer. It wasn't quite as close to the bleeding edge in it's day as the MBP is now but it wasn't a long way short either. Oh and I've replaced the battery on this Acer when It got down to 45 mins run time from 5 hours when new. The duff one is still used when on mains to preserve the life of the replacement, it takes seconds to swap. Can I do that with a macbook?

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quite

I have the 15"er.

With QuickRes and can easily swap between 1900x1200 (where it looks better than my old 17" matte MBP looked at the same res) and full 2880x1800 when I'm working in FCP and want to edit with full HD video, and still have space for loads of 'tracks', etc.

It's the mutts nutts.

And 400MB/s SSDs are a revolution - folk who've not had the pleasure really don't know what they are missing.

It's a premium product, for a premium price.

Though I got mine from a US seller on ebay, selling in UK - 400 quid less than RRP. And only difference is a US keyboard - worth a look if you want to save cash.

One thing I do find annoying is that at 1920x1200 it still tries to display 'best for retina' artefacts. i.e. in CS6 and FCPX it shows things as '100%' when in fact they are not - you need to display at 133% to actually get 1:1 pixel for pixel (due to the upscale rendering you mention). I thought they'd have release a patch fix for that by now, but it looks like thats not gonna happen which is annoying.

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WTF?

Why the downvote

I am trying to understand why you've been down-voted so much for stating technical facts?

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FAIL

Re: Not tempted

Yes, because the OS performance on the same disk deteriorated significantly I should buy new hardware?

To clarify - the problem doesn't seem to be performance of the disk at all but down to scheduling: as soon as two apps want the disk then I can go and make a cup of tea. This is particularly noticeable with virtual machines. Under Leopard I used to run two VMs quite happily while I was working in Mac OS. Not been possible since and I have a faster machine, more RAM and a bigger disk.

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FAIL

Please stop moaning about transat differences

Why does the subject of cost difference enter into every subject similar to this one.

The cost of living in the States is not on par with Europe.

Items are sold by manufacturers in relation to many things, the cost of living is one of them and it has to be taken into account in order that the local Apple workforce can also survive , locally.....

I am only using Apple as an example the same applies to many other companies.

There are probably a hundred other forums far more suited to this than an IT forum.....

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LDS
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Re: Please stop moaning about transat differences

Computers prices are a factor in the cost of living....

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Re: Please stop moaning about transat differences

Exactly, under the category of "recreation and leisure".

Manufacturers know just how high or low they can push the price limits without having too large an impact.

If the prices are too low, the manufacturer doesn't make a profit, too high and no-one will buy one. Therefore he will adjust accordingly and since countries have differing "costs of livings" then the price of goods will also differ.

Where things get all fucked up though is with the grey market but that's another story that belongs in another forum.

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Stop

Re: Please stop moaning about transat differences

+1

The price disparity topic has been done to death many times over.

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Re: Please stop moaning about transat differences

What a load of bullshit. Cost of living has nothing to do with it and to think otherwise is an indication of a feeble mind.

The 1950's "Cost-Plus" pricing paradigm bares little resemblence to the current retail model. Retailers set their prices on what they think a consumer will be prepared to pay, not how much it costs the retailer to buy. The only 'cost-plus' in today's retail framework is price + VAT.

You need to remove VAT and any other sales taxes from the headline prices BEFORE applying exchange rates to see which market sector provides the retailer with greater (profit) margin.

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Re: Please stop moaning about transat differences

"Cost of living has nothing to do with it and to think otherwise is an indication of a feeble mind."

Nice ad hominem...

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Anonymous Coward

"The 15-incher boasts 2880*1800 resolution, quad-core i7s at up to 2.7GHz across the range, 8GB or 16GB of RAM and an NVIDIA GeForce GT 650M with 1GB of GDDR5 memory."

Aren't these the same specs as before? ..... so not an update/refresh?

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Anonymous Coward

Just noticed the base model processor's gone from 2.3GHz to 2.4GHz.

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Facepalm

doesn't offer the chance to add to the 8GB of memory the machine possesses when it leaves Apple's artisanal manufacturing workshop, but it is possible to configure the machines with up to 768GB of solid state disk

Why the restriction on RAM? Surely it's just a simple 2 minute job of popping the ram cover off, and slotting in 2 new....ah wait.

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Exactly. I've owned several Macs and have needed to upgrade the memory in all of them. I most definitely won't be buying a laptop that can't have its ram increased.

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Facepalm

Heh.

That's the reason why I stopped caring as soon as I read "Retina".Especially given Apple's strange rules for "maximum RAM" on their stuff. My MBP supposedly has an 8Gb upper limit, yet I have 16GB RAM on this one.

Oh, so awesome ... my MBP just dropped $100 in its price tag. At least those of us who care about actual work being done & upgreadability are getting a better deal. Though I would've preferred to have that discount 2 months ago...

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FAIL

A Company In Flux

Recent models have had the memory soldered to the motherboard. Big negative for those that like to work on their own machines, and totally contrary to the original "do it yourself" idea of the company's early days.

Hopefully that awful decision will be fixed, by the time my '09 model is ready for pasture...

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Anonymous Coward

Retina Hype

Took delivery of a 15" mbp non retina screen but upgraded to a hi def screen and 1 TB hard drive Monday this week. Must haves for me were the disc drive and Ethernet socket because I hate using an adapter and being charged extra for one.

I'm old enough and poor sighted enough not to be blinded by the hype surrounding the new retina screen that every journalist tells us we 'need' to make our experience better.

Three days after delivery, Apple update the range.... and I still know I made the right decision.

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Mushroom

*splutter* How much??

£1300 for a 13 inch laptop? I like Apple as much as the next Fanboi, but that is taking the piss !

If this is meant as a desktop replacement (as that is what the MacBook Pro range is about as I understand it) I'd expect the prices of the 13 inch range to apply to the 15inch range at least.

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Re: *splutter* How much??

Indeed. Presumably this new range is only aimed at upgrading Fanbois. Unlikely to convert many people with their pricetags.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: *splutter* How much??

Easy, then go to Dell and buy yourself the equivalent specced laptop surely? Its why we have a "free market". Dont think its value for money find another lappy. I will be getting one for my new contracting laptop, dual booted. Will probably last me as long as my old white macbook (6 years and counting, and is still worth a couple of hundred quid btw and runs lion)

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Re: *splutter* How much??

Indeed. Whatever happened to the pricey and cheerful "budget" range of macbook whites? A comparative snip at £700!

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Re: *splutter* How much??

Not sure why you seem to have taken personal offence at my post with your snarky comments about the free market.

I'm sure people will buy them, valuing certain things more highly than me. However, with OSX being (officially) limited to Apple hardware, my choice of a different brand of laptop will have consequences for the operating system I can run. Its Annoying that I can't choose a cheaper but similarly specced lappy and (officially) use OSX on it.

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Facepalm

Re: *splutter* How much??

Oooh, you're so right. £1,249 for a 13" MacBook Pro with retina screen, 2.5GHz, 8Gb, 128Gb flash, when you could have:

  • a plastic Sony Vaio with a slower 2GHz processor, a cack low res letterbox 1366x768 screen for a mere £1,513 (http://www.sony.co.uk/customise/vaio-t-series).
  • A corporate drone laptop from Dell (Ultrabook XPS 13) with a letterbox screen complete with crapware demos for £1,230 + delivery

Yeah, Apple are *so* expensive.

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Re: *splutter* How much??

In the States I've gotten used to good laptops priced at $400. As Wibble reminds me I've never considered a Sony, they've always been pricey without anything compelling to make it worth it.

But a couple of months ago this life-long Windows user finally bought a 13-inch MacBook Pro. Yes, I would have loved for it to have been cheaper, but now that I have one I don't feel like I've been ripped off. Solid construction, great touch-pad, nice OS.

While I won't be ditching my Toshiba laptop anytime soon, I can see how the Mac hardware/OS integration makes it more pleasant to use.

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Apple gullibility tax

That's for a Retina laptop. If you buy refurb (like me for personal use) MacBooks start at £720, which is a lot more like it, and the 13-inchers from £850.

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Stopped caring...

... as soon as I read "retina". That surely means it is only on the Retina models where they did the upgrade, and those are non-user-upgreadable. Hopefully they'll update the non-retina versions as well.

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That is actually one heck of an upgrade price

Basically now retina on a 13" mac costs £250 extra, which is actually pretty good, especially since nobody else makes a retina-quality laptop display.

It only has Intel graphics so effectively what they've produced is a pimped-up personal laptop not a portable AV workstation, but a lot of people who do photography (amateur or pro) will be pretty happy about this.

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Get the old one

Luckily they still have the old version available, so I shall be getting one of those before they finally disappear. 1680x1050 yes, but retina display? My eyesight is no longer good enough to tell the difference. I do want the option of HDD though (even 768GB SSD isn't really enough, and the price is prohibitive), plus I still use CDs and DVDs, FireWire, and Ethernet, all of which you need an extra adapter for on the new one.

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How Much?

So what, Yes its worth it, as to date I have had 3 MacBooks in the last 8 years all are still working today my friend has had 6 PC laptops (Acer x2, Dell, HP x2, Sony), before he got a macbook too. They wont break unless you really go for it. they are Over Engineered.

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$2700 for an i7!!!

Lol at these prices, do they throw in a car as a free bonus with top of the range???

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Where are the 17-inchers?

Apple is making some crucial mistakes alienating high-end users. While it's true all the yupsters want small, light showoffs, power users want BIGGER and faster.

We need real estate! The only reason I'd ever buy an iPad Mini is if it can make voice calls. In fact, I'd adjust my wardrobe to Capt. Kangaroo pockets if iPad could make calls instead of only Skype.

Am I alone here???

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